2012…A season that set the tone for the future of Southern Ohio Speedway
WHEELERSBURG, OH-It’s hard to believe that the 2012 season has come and gone and we are now into the long offseason. It was seven months ago today that the 2012 season at the Southern Ohio Speedway officially began. Over these past seven months we’ve been treated to lots of exciting races, some crazy moments, and some incredible accomplishments. The 2012 season at Southern Ohio Speedway was no doubt a wild ride and a season that no doubt set the tone for the future of the track.
As we look back at 2012, the one thing that really stands out was the amount of great racing we witnessed throughout the year. We can think back to the epic late race battle between Josh McGuire and Eddie Carrier Jr. for the win on April 20th, Carrier being passed by Hawkins in the Southern 50 and then passing him back for the win, Jackie Boggs coming from sixth to pass Carrier in the late laps on May 25th, Eddie Harmon’s last lap pass on Luke Jordan on August 3rd, a Late Model feature on September 14th that saw four different drivers lead the event, and a Sport Mod photo finish on September 29th among so many great races.
A lot of what led to the great racing was the return of the high side this year. In 2011, everyone was anticipating the high side to be the fast way around SOS, but very few drivers ventured off the bottom the whole season. With new clay on the track and different track prep, the high side was usually the fastest way around Southern Ohio Speedway in 2012. The number of passes made for the win by drivers using the high side this season was astonishing. A Southern where the high side is the fast way around is definitely the Southern that race fans remember from 20-30 years ago.
2012 will also be remembered for all of the crazy moments that the season brought. If you talk to anyone who has gone to races often at SOS, they will tell you that Southern has a certain mystique to it. There’s just something about Southern that seemingly creates crazy moments that usually happen when you least expect it. In 2012 we saw on track scuffles, Luke Jordan literally fly off of the banking and into a neighboring field, taking out trees in the process, drivers coming from out of nowhere to win races, NASCAR drivers getting in on the fun, cars climbing walls, guardrails getting blasted out, track records set, and yes, MTV even showed up at the track one night. 2012 was a season where race fans came to the track expecting something exciting to happen and they were not disappointed.
The 2012 season will be remembered by many for the incredible championship performances we saw. Late Model track champion Eddie Carrier Jr. did the unthinkable in sweeping the track’s three big races; the Pepsi Southern 100, Southern 50, and GCP Engines Southern Showdown along with winning two weekly shows along the way. Carrier ended up winning $27,000 in purse money this season. In the Jordan Heating & Cooling UMP Modified division, Jeremy Rayburn picked up seven wins at SOS on his way to winning the SOS track championship and Ohio UMP championship. Eric Dennison put together an impressive season in the GCP Engines Sport Mod division while Tim Cutler was impressive each week on his way to the Street Stock championship. 2012 was a year that saw all four track champions take the championships by posting some incredible numbers against very tough competition.
While 2012 was a year that will be remembered by all of the things written above, the reality is it will also be a year that will be remembered by the well documented dust issue and the fix to it. With exceptionaly dry weather conditions, dusty track conditions became a huge issue in the summer time. It became an issue that would lead H&L Motorsports officials to shut the track down for one week to fix the issue. That proved to be a good decision as after that, with new track prep techniques, H&L Motorsports officials were able to totally eliminate the dust issue and provide one of the best track surfaces in the country for the final four races of 2012. People who attended races prior to the month of August and then attended a race in August and September will no doubt be quick to point out the incredible turn around in track conditions.
Everything that happened during the 2012 season has set the tone for what drivers and race teams can expect in 2013 and future years at Southern Ohio Speedway. With 2012 being the first full season of Southern Ohio Speedway under H&L Motorsports, LLC management, there was no doubt that 2012 was going to be the year that determined the direction of the speedway for years to come.
The tone has been set that Southern Ohio Speedway is a place where race fans can witness some of the most exciting racing action in the country. What put Southern Ohio Speedway into “legendary” status in the past was the great, high speed racing and the crazy action the track produced week in and week out. With the incredible racing and exciting action we saw in 2012, the tone is set that the great racing that made Southern so popular in the past is back and will be the norm for years for to come.
The tone has also been set that Southern Ohio Speedway officials will settle for nothing less than an excellent racing surface each and every week. With new track prep techniques in place, the dust issues of the past have been eliminated as SOS is a track where a tacky, multi-groove racing surface can be expected as the norm. Through the track’s official Facebook page race fans and race teams were given an inside look each week in 2012 at the amount of work that goes into the racing surface. Race fans and race teams can expect an excellent racing surface to be the norm for 2013 and beyond.
Southern Ohio Speedway would like to say a special thanks to all of the fans, drivers, car owners, and sponsors for giving us a great 2012 racing season! Without everyones support it would not be possible for us to put on high quality racing programs week in and week out. Be sure to stay tuned to the website all offseason for additional 2012 season review articles and 2013 season preview articles as we look forward to the upcoming racing season!